Sports betting platforms operating in Massachusetts have asked the state to temporarily waive the requirement that they provide messaging to customers regarding self-exclusion and other “play management” options.
The operators petitioned the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) to waive the play management requirement while they work to add functionality to their mobile sportsbooks.
Online sports betting in Massachusetts launched on March 10, and seven operators are live in Commonwealth. All seven requested the waiver, and all seven waivers were approved.
Each operator has a waiver with a specific date to comply with the regulation, as each platform asked for a different schedule to come into compliance. The waivers extend into either late July or early August. Current regulations require that to be in place by June 20.
Software updates needed
Several of the operators cited software upgrades for the need of a temporary waiver.
The play management regulation language requires many of the operators to revise the software platforms they use in Massachusetts to offer “conspicuous display” of responsible gaming features such as self-exclusion.
Provisions in 205 CMR 255 of the Massachusetts gaming law address the policies for sportsbooks to display messaging to account holders for play management. In the parlance of the regulations, “play management” covers programs “which are intended to offer individuals a means to restrict gambling behavior and to increase informed player choice.”
Bruce Band, Director of Sports Wagering for the MGC, reported that his division supported the request from the sports betting operators and felt they were “not unreasonable.” Some of the operators have expressed they would need until July to have the requisite technology in place for play management.
Band added that MA sportsbooks are making self-exclusion tools available, it’s just that the specific display requirements from the regulation have caused a delay in being compliant with the gaming law.
Massachusetts focus on responsible gambling
Responsible gambling in Massachusetts has been a constant focus for the MGC since the industry went live.
CMR 255 requires a display that offers an opt-in to self-exclusion, and also a link to responsible gaming resources at specified steps in the sportsbook user experience. The seven operators all expressed they needed time to comply fully.
Commissioner Nakisha Skinner also noted that one operator has requested a waiver to be exempt from publishing a monthly report on responsible gaming and self-exclusion activity.
The seven operators in Massachusetts are DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, WynnBET, Barstool Sportsbook, and Betr. Fanatics MA has been approved for an operations certificate, but has yet to launch its product in MA.
If you or a loved one is experiencing problems with gambling, call 1-800-327-5050 or visit www.mahelpline.org/problemgambling to speak with a trained specialist for free, 24/7